Because of its ability to solicit detailed information, this study embraced a qualitative research approach (Merriam, 2002). Based on the research subject, the qualitative approach proved efficient as it focuses on subjective judgment based on data that cannot be quantified. It is reliable in collecting data that represent inexact apprehensions that belonging to the empirical and social realm as opposed to the quantitative approach. Generally, it involves the understanding of human perceptions and as such, recognizes the ambiguities that are inherent in human language. These aspects proved applicable, deeming qualitative research most appropriate for the study.
That qualitative research approach is non-numeric and therefore centrally focuses on people. According to Denzin and Lincoln (1994), qualitative research is considered a multi-method in focus, which is interpretive as well as naturalistic approach to its subject matter. This is partly because it is dependent on the experiential human intelligence such as positive associations with different subjects, in this case, the effectiveness of the TESOL curriculum. It gives room for feelings and perceptions but still remains rigorous in obtaining the desired information. This method does not require standardized data to be used for statistical comparison. On the contrary, its flexibility gives room to respond to user data as it emerges during the time of collection. These properties during this research will allow for the collection of comprehensive data on the significance and effectiveness of the curriculum.
During this study, a purposive sampling method was used for the research. This method is a subjective and non-probability technique of sampling that is hinged on the researchers judgment as to who would be more appropriate to take part in the study. In this case, a sample population based on their knowledge level and experience in the field was chosen. This sample population was used to represents that larger population of people who possess equally distinct knowledge as well as experience in English teaching and learning. This makes it the most suitable technique for this research for selecting participants for the research.
There were two criterias considered during the sample population selection. The two people selected to be the sample population must have either been students who are enrolled in the TESOL program in the second year and above or professors/teachers who have been lecturing in the TESOL program for more than a year. The two persons selected as the sample population were ideal to represent members of the target population group for this study. Due to their exposure as well as experience in the field of English teaching, these individuals made up an adept sample population for the research as evaluators. This was essential for completion of the survey aimed at evaluating the curriculum for ESL teachers.
The data collection was primarily carried out by administering a questionnaire to the participants in the sample population. Several reasons lie behind the choice of this instrument as a data collection method for the study. First, the data collected through questionnaires are quite easy to analyze. Also, given the nature of the respondents, questionnaires would not occupy much of their time as it merely involves a quick fill in the method of collecting consistent data. In addition, it is an inexpensive means for collecting data from a large sample population. In this case, only unstructured questions will be employed as a method of inquisition. Unstructured questions do not provide the respondent with a list of choices from which to choose from but rather requires participants to develop their own responses.
Each participant was contacted ten days before the dissemination of the research material with a request to participate in the study. Upon agreement, each received an email with an introduction of the curriculum, eight lesson plans, and curriculum materials as well as instructions for reviewing the curriculum. Participants had ten days to review the curriculum and complete the questionnaire using the guidelines provided. On completion, the participants were required to send their duly completed questionnaire through electronic mail to the address that was provided.
The instrument used was a subject-completed questionnaire composed of four open-ended questions that allowed evaluators to provide detail-rich responses necessary for a thorough evaluation of the curriculum. To capture perceptions regarding the efficacy of the proposed curriculum, the questionnaire utilized inquiries corresponding to the aforementioned research questions (see Appendix C). The participants were required to answer these questions in their own words without limited wording so as to provide as much information as possible. This ensured that the data collected was able to capture every aspect that could be significant for the research.
For this qualitative research, an Atlas.Ti software will be used to analyze the data collected. It is a computer program that can operate in a variety of operating systems such as Windows and Mac OS. It is mainly used in analyzing qualitative research data as is widely used in fields such as quality management and sociology. It is capable of consolidating large amounts of data while analyzing all primary material from respondents such as texts and images. In this research, the data collected from respondents will be fed to the program which will then annotate this data thereby weighing and evaluating their importance while determining the composite relations amongst them.
Reliability and Validity
It is essential to determine whether the responses given in the questionnaire by the respondents are stable or consistent and can be depended on for a research study. The main technique that was employed for this research was the member-check strategy. This technique involves sharing the results of the study with members of the target population to ascertain that these outcomes were conclusive and would be meaningful for the research. For this research, people who did not participate in the research but fall within the distinct characteristics of the research sample were serviced with a copy of the results. This evaluated the degree to which the different evaluators agreed in their assessment of the English teaching curriculum conducted by the research.
Denzin, N., & Lincoln, Y. (1994). Handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Describe the major strengths you have experienced as the ESL curriculum?
Describe the major weaknesses that you have experienced with the ESL curriculum?
In you view, what are the best strategies that can be employed to improve the ESL curriculum?
Do you think this curriculum is helpful in pre-servicing ESL teachers in applying different teaching methods to their practice?
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